Chinese government-linked hacking group allegedly stole $20M in COVID relief funds

A hacking group linked to the Chinese authorities is alleged to have stolen greater than $20 million in COVID relief advantages, together with U.S. Small Business Administration loans and unemployment funds in greater than a dozen states.
NBC reported at this time that the allegation comes from the Secret Service, though the company has not launched a report on the matter. The group allegedly behind the theft, APT41 — also referred to as Wicked Panda and Winnti — is well-known and has been behind a number of assaults in the previous, making the declare plausible.
Referencing officers and specialists, most talking off the file, NBC stated different federal investigations of pandemic fraud have additionally pointed again to overseas state-affiliated hackers. A spokesperson for the Secret Service declined to remark additional, however one spokesperson did counsel that the assaults might have focused all 50 states.
Presuming APT41 did steal $20 million in pandemic relief funds, the theft can be a drop in a bucket subsequent to the figures believed to have been extorted, stolen or wrongly claimed. The Labor Department Office of the Inspector General believes that roughly 20% of the $872.5 billion spent on federal pandemic funds have been improperly paid, with the fraud price doubtlessly greater but.
The Justice Department indicated members and associates of APT 41 in September 2020 on allegations of state-sponsored hacking. At the time, the group was alleged to be behind laptop intrusions affecting greater than 100 corporations and teams in the United States and overseas.
Groups and corporations beforehand focused by APT41 embrace software program growth corporations, laptop {hardware} producers, telecommunications suppliers, social media corporations, online game corporations, nonprofit organizations, universities, suppose tanks and overseas governments, in addition to pro-democracy politicians and activists in Hong Kong.
“The actions of Wicked Panda to steal from the U.S. Paycheck Protection Program post-COVID-19 comes as no shock and ought to be a continued wakeup name,” Tim Kosiba, chief government officer of presidency cybersecurity options and coaching supplier bracket f Inc., a subsidiary of Redacted Inc., instructed SiliconANGLE. “This Chinese-backed group will stay a strategic menace to our nation to help the efforts of the CCP to commit espionage and assault our porous infrastructure in order to enhance their aggressive benefit.”
Kosiba added that “the PPP rollout was not applied with cybersecurity on the forefront, however reasonably a way of supporting our society on account of quick COVID-19 impacts.” Hence, he stated, “there ought to be little doubt APT41 stays current in some kind inside state authorities techniques, because the CCP-directed efforts to gather data on U.S. residents will proceed.”
Indeed, given the data that has been collected on U.S. residents by China over time, fraudulently submitting for advantages is way from troublesome, stated Erich Kron, safety consciousness advocate at cybersecurity consciousness coaching firm KnowBe4 Inc. “The U.S. authorities has a accountability to guard our tax {dollars} from fraud and abuse, sadly, it appears in not less than this case, it has didn’t anticipate this end result,” he stated.
Photo: Pxhere

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